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Name: People v. Masloski
Case #: S088091
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 07/05/2001
Subsequent History: None

Appellant entered into a plea bargain, under the terms of which she pleaded guilty to a drug offense and admitted a prior “strike” in return for a promise of double the low term (32 months) in state prison if she appeared for sentencing. If she failed to appear, the court would be free to impose the maximum term of six years based on her plea. The court took a Cruz (People v. Cruz (1988) 44 Cal.3d 1247) waiver and advised appellant of the potential consequences of the plea if she did not appear for sentencing, calling it a “contract” between appellant and the court. Appellant did not appear for sentencing, but appeared the following day. The court imposed double the midterm sentence, for a total of four years in state prison. On appeal, appellant argued that the “contract” was separate from the plea bargain, and that the trial court failed to adhere to the terms of the plea bargain. The Court of Appeal reversed, and the prosecution petitioned for review. The California Supreme Court here reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeal. A plea bargain may properly provide for an increased sentence in the event the defendant fails to appear for sentencing. The fact that the court used the term “contract” in referring to part of the plea agreement did not signify that the “contract” was not a part of the plea agreement. The court apparently used the term only to impress upon the defendant that nonappearance would have serious consequences. The trial court listed the Cruz waiver as one of the terms of the plea agreement, and appellant clearly understood that part of the agreement was an increased sentence if she failed to appear.